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>> Everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You're here, my friends, because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it. So our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that are gonna help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today's guest is hard to fit in a box. He's the executive director of the Flow Genome Project and has been tapped to help unlock employee performance by Fortune 500 companies, such as Cisco, Nike, Google, and Red Bull. But he's also well versed in mystical experiences and Burning Man. Growing up, he took huge risks as an adventure athlete willing to risk everything for those fleeting moments where he was outside of himself and free of the monkey mind. But realizing how dangerous and clumsy of an approach to actually is, he and partner Stephen Kotler have committed to delivering the elusive state of flow from the world of hard to reproduce mysticism to the world of hard science by mapping the genome of flow with scientific rigor by 2020. This endeavor has already made him the recognized expert in the four trillion dollar altered states of consciousness economy and turned him into a much sought after speaker and consultant on the neurophysiology of ultimate human performance. You had me at ultimate human performance. His work ranges from advising high growth companies and hedge funds to running expeditionary leadership courses and helping optimize the most elite warriors on the planet. Half of the things that I came across in my research, I had to look up to fully understand and every new thing I encountered made me feel like this guy is the ayahuasca spirit guide for an elevated and optimized daily life. Please help me in welcoming the co-author of the relentlessly intriguing book "Stealing Fire", how Silicon Valley, the Navy Seals and Maverick scientists are revolutionizing the way we live and work. The midwife of transient hypo-frontality himself, Jamie Wiel. Welcome. Thanks for having me. Good to see you again. Dude, good to see you as well. Very good to have you on the show. I don't normally start with diving into terms and defining things, but I have a feeling where we're going to go by the end of this interview is going to get pretty interesting, maybe a little esoteric. So why don't we start with what are the states of altered consciousness?
Altered States Of Consciousness And Related Concepts
ALtered States of Consciousness (02:34)
Sure. I mean, altered states of consciousness just means anything other than waking normal. And so that can include everything from dreams to visions to schizophrenic states, a whole broad swath. In our book "Stealing Fire", we actually kind of narrow that down. And we focus on what Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Stan Graf called non-ordinal ordinary states of consciousness. And under that, we zeroed in on three big categories. So meditation and mystical states. And in this case, you know, can classical sitting meditation, the kind of thing that people are familiar with, but then also any of the states that are produced by dancing, by movement, by sexuality, by these days, smart tech, you know, whether it's little things from your phone or more complex devices. So any of those states, flow states, which as we've discussed, you know, those moments of in the zone performance, again, typically for autism athletes, and then psychedelic states. And there's been this recent renaissance in sanction research in, you know, chemicals that interact with our neurochemistry and produce very, very pronounced and fairly persistent different or altered states of consciousness. So that's those are the three. Meditation, flow, and psychedelic states under which we then had to kind of come up with a bigger name or tone. And since the baby boomers and kind of hippies kind of ran a lot of them into the ground, we're like, okay, we can't use any of that language. We have to wind the clock all the way back. So let's go all the way back to word origins, back to the ancient Greek. And we figured, okay, exstasis, which in the Greek is the antecedent for the word ecstasy, which if you sort of get beyond the club drug reference, this sort of just means literally that which moves us beyond ourself. So non-ordinary states are those that typically take us out of everyday waking consciousness, where I am self-aware and have an inner narrative going on to those states beyond that. And then there's a whole host of additional qualities we can talk about. You've likened the inner narrative to our inner Woody Allen, which I found that. Yeah, that's exactly what it feels like, right? Someone who's essentially heckling you within your own life, which is painful to know that it's coming from your own mind, which how much do you know about what they've done with severing a corpus callosum and creating literal duality in people's minds? Yeah, I mean, I think that's Sam Harris in his book, Waking Us talks about that. I think it's one of the most fascinating parts of that book. I think that it gives us a great, just empirical kind of A/B testing on what do we think of as ourselves and to what extent is our consciousness or conscious waking part, the part that can point to stuff and name it and call it out, actually calling the show. And actually, neuroscientist David Eagelman, who's a dear friend of ours and on our advisory board, he teaches at Stanford. He's in his book Incognito and several of his others. He makes that great case too. He's like, look, basically, our conscious mind is no more than the headlines on the Sunday edition of your times compared to the entire week's news. So that fact that what we think of as ourselves and what we're actually in real time able to name, point out and talk about is a percent at most of all the data we're experiencing, all the sensations and inputs is fascinating and or terrifying depending on your point of view, and potentially liberating. Because if we can get access to more of that bitstream and we can integrate it into our choices, our decisions and even our inspiration, we have access to a lot more bandwidth.
Why This Is My Life's Work (05:46)
It's like going from dial up to fiber uptake and a heartbeat. Is that why this has become sort of your life's work? I mean, I think maybe on a sort of cognitive level, like an intellectual level, but really, it's become my life's work because I just realized it's the only thing that makes me tick. It's the only thing that gets me up out of bed in the morning. We have a sort of insight joke, the first rule of flow clubs, you never talk about flow club. Like don't talk about it. Just go do it. Live it. Shut up. And so for me, I just realized I'm a lazy unmotivated bastard when it comes down to it. You and me boss. Bam. There it is. And so I just noticed that and I'm like, wow. And then I noticed everybody else too, which was it felt like we're drowning in information and we're starving for motivation. So like new ideas about, you know, top 10 listicles about how to live better or be more productive and all that kind of stuff. I think there's a sort of false promise there. Because like, that's not the weak link. The weak link is, do I have enough drive in myself to do these things? And if we can unlock intrinsic motivation, if we can unlock that, I can't help but go do this because it fulfills me and we can connect that to long-term development, then I think we got something much more potent and potentially transformative than post-it notes or affirmations. Talk to me about the four trillion dollar economy that's grown up around people's desire to mess with their own bearing chemistry.
How flow can be stimulated through tool usage (07:00)
Yeah. I mean, this is kind of a crazy story actually because we had mapped the, you know, the neurobiology of the flow statement. That's the genome of the flow kind of part of our organization. And so we realized, ah, when you're in 21st century normal, it has a very consistent signature. It's fast beta brainwaves. It's prefrontal cortical activity. A lot of kind of just phytoplite stress hormones, but they're just kind of left on slow drip. So norapinephrine and cortisol are hot, not surprisingly, are hot, are heart rate variability is kind of all over the place. Jaggedy look like the stock market instead of a nice sine wave. Right. Our postures are often hunched. Our respiration is partial and shallow. Poor Eric's change, pulled up CO2 brains, not getting fully oxygenated. Like there's this kind of predictable stack. And when we feel, like most of us feel most of the time, it looks like that under the hood. And ultimately, in these non-ordinary states, all of that stuff shifts and it shifts kind of, you know, to the right, at least on a sort of nominal two by two chart of it. And it becomes slower brainwaves, alpha or theta. It becomes deactivated or hyperactivated brain activity in different regions lighting up and turning off. It requires neurotransmitters that flush out the stress chemicals and replace them with reward and feel good chemicals, dopamine and dorphins and nandamide, those kinds of things. Respiration tends to become more rocks and belly breathing. You get better air exchange. Posture tends to follow shoulders, relax and fall back head above, you know, head above shoulders, all these kinds of things. You're like, wow. So that's an interesting signature. What we realized was this actually applies not just to flow states. This applies to meditative states. This applies to other mystically induced states. This applies to psychedelic states. And we realized, okay, now we've got almost a Rosetta Stone. You remember, like back in, when I think it was Napoleon's era, they discovered that tablet that had Greek, Demotic Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs all staying the same sentence all in one place. So they could translate and they could decode the grammar of it, right? And that unlocked access to these languages that had been hidden. Well, you know, that genome of flow became my Rosetta Stone. And it let us unlock, we were like, oh, well, you know, flow states were the domain of artists and athletes and meditative states were the domains of, you know, mystics and meditators or sort of saints, you know, pious folk monks. And then psychedelics were sort of hippies and ravers. And none of those communities would ever talk to each other. They'd walk past each other on the street and not bat an eye. And we're like, well, wait a sec, actually, your practice is the doors you're going through are all completely different. But the place you're getting to, remarkably similar. So as soon as we had that insight, well, okay, well, let's see, are we full of it? Is this just a hypothesis that doesn't bear out? And we said, let's actually do a hard economic analysis. And let's take a look at how much time and money are people spending seeking those, those states, that profile, that signature. And so we backed into it. And we took a look at the obvious, Lissit and the Lissit pharmaceuticals. So everything from alcohol to backup nicotine, all the way over to, you know, legal and illegal marijuana, all the way to on and off prescription pharmaceuticals, oxycontin, painkillers, psychiatric meds, that whole neck of the words, that was over $2.2 trillion. Right, just just alone. And then we went into, you know, not just compounds that we can ingest to shift our state, but the entire psychotherapeutic self-help space helped me get coach me or teach me to get out of my waking state consciousness, feel happier, etc.
The economic power of vice (10:31)
And that was billions more. And then we took a look at immersive media. The idea of immersive media, I mean, we talked about IMACs, we talked about even just binge watching, right? I mean, Netflix has done all their algorithms and the idea of like, even the fact that the next show pops up before the last one finishes, like they've coded it. And they've even found that like comedies aren't that good for binge watching. But what is it? Serial dramas. So that's why House of Cards, like, because I'm now hung up on a cliffhanger. I can't wait to have the dopamine hint of the reward of the next thing. And I'll stay up. I thought I was just going to watch one and go to bed. Six of them later. It's 3am. And I'm still going to go for that last son of a bitch to get my payoff. Right? So those are all the categories. And we realized like, IMACs, you know, giant 40-foot screens, huge subwoofers, right? The ability to be in the dark, I've lost, not unlike a sensory deprivation tank, but I lose the boundaries of myself. I'm connected to other people who are, you know, booing and gosping and clapping and cheering. The sound, you know, George Lucas, right? Famously said, you know, he said movies are 50% audio. Right? And so huge sound, huge screens. We travel further. We pay more for those tickets. We don't just stream them at home or go to our local Cineplex. So that's a state shifting choice. We pay a premium for them. And they said something about that you were like, we don't go that far out of our way and pay the additional premium for to see better movies. We go there to feel something more. Yeah. I mean, that's the premise or payoff of IMACs. You're like, lose yourself more. Right? And for two or three hours, project onto the screen, mirroring neurons, all that kind of thing. I mean, our brains aren't evolutionarily wired to distinguish between what's on the screen and what's we're actually proceeding through our own eyes. It's like that those initial silent movies with the train coming and everyone bailed out of their seats. Right? So that's the premise of IMACs. Binge watching, we've just talked about, and you know, that notion of it gets out of hand. Right? I plan one, I ended up watching eight. Right? That's a sign of the narrow chem happening. Streaming pornography is a great example because if you think about it, why do we do it? There's no evolutionary payoff. If I succeed at watching porn, right, I do not propagate the gene pool one bit. Right? But what I do do is I create a state of pronounced physiological arousal, right? And a state of sated neurochemistry that I find appealing. Right. And if you think about that one, you know, like there's a book called Salt Sugar Fat by a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times author, he basically talks about how the food industry has hacked what they call the bliss point. Oh, yes. Right. And they literally, I mean, they schemed for it. And this is why we have chilies and TGI Fridays and the cheesecake factory, right? And they basically figured out that salt sugar and fat were both very all three rare sensations. Salt is central mineral. You're going to get it at salt licks in certain places. Sugar, you know, was only available in berry season for two weeks, no refrigerators, no shipping, right? Two weeks of berry season or honeycomb, and that was it. Right. And fat, easy to spoil. Right. So anytime it's in our evolutionary history, we had access to that stuff. It was just like the signal was just get as much as you can while you can. Right. And now we can't stop. We can't turn it off. So you get two crispy creams between a bacon cheeseburger. And that's a thing, right? I think that exists in the world, believe it or not. And people lose their minds. Right. And so and 70% of adult American men are obese. Right. That's crazy. Right. And so and so you put sexuality in that same category. Right. So food, water, sex, three prime, you know, primary evolutionary drivers. And now we have untapped access to perennially sexually available mates with no contest from peers. Right. Because we provided access to all this stuff now in ways that were never ever available. Right. People have no checks and balances anymore. So the ability to massively ever shoot the market and pursuing these states is absolutely there. And it's a clear and present danger. So all things we need checks and balances. I mean, I think the evidence would suggest that without them, if we just provide unlimited access to things that used to have natural ebbs and flows, you tend to get, you tend to get access and you tend to get addiction, destruction and destruction. Let's talk about drugs. So here's the thing.
I'm soup. I'm a total worse about drugs. So I don't do drugs. I've tried smoking weed. I fucking hated it. I drink, but super occasionally, like I just don't mess exogenously with my neurochemistry very often. I'm terrified of psychedelics, but I'm so intrigued by what lies on the other side. Like one, do you think it's, it's a, I'm going to say necessary doorway. Is it a massive accelerator and why should it or shouldn't it be more readily used by people? Okay, that's a bunch of questions. That's a lot of questions. Okay. So, so, I mean, first things first, if there's a premise for our book at all that I would want people to take away, it's that the door matters less than the destination. Okay. Right. And so, but aren't some doors going to be easier than others? Some, and yeah, I mean, we even talk about it in one of the later chapters, which is like literally the exstasis equation, because people always ask us what's the best way. Yeah. Trust me. That's on the list of questions today. What's the best way? And we're like, look man, it depends. It depends on your time frames, your risk tolerance. My time frame, how long I have to get into. Yeah. Like how, I mean, if, because you, if you wanted to say, hey, I'm risk averse, right? I have all the time in the world, right? And I want the safest, surest way. I'd say dedicate, you know, respiration practice and contemplation. Go forth and have fun. Right. And see me in 10 years. If you're like, I am desperate to have some meaning, like, let's take, for instance, a specific case study of a rocky vet who's suffering from PTSD. Yeah, perfect. Right. So, like, you've got time, time, money and access, and you can choose your path and your risk averse, go learn to meditate. Right. I'm not sure if I can live another day in my mind, the way it is, then stronger interventions may be necessary. And in fact, maps the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has been doing federally profound federally sanctioned research with trauma sufferers. So it is, it's, you know, war veterans, as well as sufferers of childhood abuse and sexual abuse. So folks who life has happened to them in ways that are unfair, unsustainable, and the burden of that wounding is literally killing them. And as little as one session with MDMA, and for those folks that don't know that, that's the core pharmaceutical agreement and what folks often know as ecstasy or molly. And when you ingest it, it interacts with your serotonin system, and it also releases dopamine and oxytocin. So you've got serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin coming into your system, and it tends to leave people feeling, particularly if they have been traumatized, they can relax, they can feel safe, they can feel secure, and they're basically having the ability to go and revisit those traumatic events in ways that don't trigger their nervous system into fight or flight again.
Reliving Trauma (17:31)
And in conjunction with skilled therapeutic talk therapy, the ability for that to release them. I mean, in fact, one, it actually, it's been so successful, it's been screwing up their stats, the maps as they do this research, because the protocol was for three sessions, just stretched over six weeks, six months. And, you know, there was a, there's been more than one, one Iraqi vet, he's like, I did one, one session. I'm good. Save my life. I'm not coming back. MDMA. Yeah. But in conjunction with talk therapy, very supervised and very structured, Johns Hopkins University is doing studies, NYU is doing studies, UCLA is doing studies, and maps, the multidisciplinary. So maps.org, you can check in on those websites. The good news is, is that their evidence has been so overwhelmingly power pronounced, effective, that the FDA is approving it not just for trauma, but also for anxiety and depression. And that's now in stage three clinical trials, I believe.
Measuring Depression in Buddhists (18:46)
Like, how does the brain rewire that fast? Yeah. I mean, I think that's a great question. And it doesn't just happen. The short answer is, I don't know why or how it does, but I would say that it does. And it's not just pharmaceutical intervention. So the MDMA trauma stuff, actually, if you wind that story back, it first began in the 1990s with Willoughby Britain at Brown University. And she was studying NDE survivors, so near-death experience, folks. And she was like, look, I'm a trauma, I'm a trauma researcher. When people are traumatized, that's usually a bad thing for them. But people who have had the kind of tunnel of white light break through epiphany moments come back. And the thing that should have traumatized them actually leaves them happier than ever. And she measured that with time it takes to get into REM sleep. And this is just an interesting notion. So back to your point about like a conscious mind. I didn't realize there was something measurable out of this. Oh my God, it's crazy. So like, back to that notion of like conscious mind is just the top one percent. You can test how long does it take me to go and fall into REM sleep at night and predict with clinical accuracy, whether or not I'm going to be depressed six months from now. Wow. Yeah. So like, I won't even feel depressed yet. Six months from now, I'm going to be in the dumps feeling that the world is at me and I don't like my relationships and my job sucks. But six months earlier, you can tell me that by hopes it's taking you, you're dropping into REM sleep too early. So basically less than 100 minutes, less than 60 minutes. If I drop into REM, total clinical sign, I'm going to be depressed. So not how fast you fall asleep. I know how fast you go into REM once you see. Yeah, and the sooner I go into REM, actually the more that that's more of a risk factor. The longer, yeah, the longer it takes me to get into REM. So here's the fact is that 90, 90 minutes is about average. NDE survivors were clicking it over 100 to 110, 120 minutes before they dropped in REM and brain scans were showing that their neurology, their neural networks were permanently rewired as a result of that singular catholic experience. So you're like, what is going on here? So, so the obviously the trouble with NDE studies is you can't repeat them in a lab. You can't nearly kill people to see if cool stuff happens. Yeah, right. So Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins had a sort of slightly more elegant solution. So like, well, we can't leave. NDEs are accidental roll of the dice. So we can't schedule that. And how do we find more people that are truly facing mortality? And how can we recreate this in some way? So he basically took terminal cancer patients and introduced three grams of psilocybin. It was enough that people got to an interesting place, but not so much that they had to manage wild and woolly experiences. And you know, four out of 10 reported it being the most meaningful experience of their lives. Period. Just straight up, most meaningful thing I've ever done. And I think seven or eight out of 10 said it was top five. And the results were persistent for one month, three month, six month, basically as long as they continue to survey them.
So then why don't people do more? Like Steve Jobs, right? For real though, like that would be my question. So, and that is the reason that I don't do it because my assumption is that the answer is because that's just dangerous. Right? That there's one of the chapters in your book is called Burning Down the House, right? So we stole fire from the gods and we do all this amazing stuff with it, but we can also burn down the house. And so I guess it fascinates me with drugs because if I knew it, we're safe, I would do it. So where is that like critical threshold? Why isn't anybody? And I was going to say Steve Jobs had everyone should do it once, but he didn't say everyone should do it weekly or daily. Right? So what is it that makes people back off? Well, I mean, I think there's, you know, there's several different things. So one, we've got to just refine our terms because drugs is a bit of a clumsy category. Right? So we're not talking about amphetamines. We're not talking about cocaine. We're not talking about opioids and heroin and any other things. We're talking about a incredibly specific and refined subset of psychedelics of which the most of the ones we're talking about interact with the serotonin system specifically. Okay. So that specific category, right, is fairly unique in its properties, right? And they're and may have and has some of the benefits as well as known issues that you have to be very mindful of, but they're not physically addictive. There's very low ability to physically overdose any of those kind of things are not on the table for this specific category. Right? Right. That said, there are, you know, state sanctions, states of consciousness. There always have been, right? And whether it's, you know, whether it's way back in the days of the Catholic Church, you know, in fact, even like Neolithic era, right? If you look at early cave sites in Western Europe, you have burned hemp seeds and mortars and pestils for opium, for poppy seeds, right? No alcohol. The alcohol complex as anthropologists kind of call a cultural movement began around the Mediterranean. So even those Old Testament stories like Noah and fermented grapes and all that kind of stuff. Right. So alcohol complex began there. And funnily enough, fueled a war-like and nomadic bunch of people that migrated out of the Mediterranean and the alcohol complex kind of took over Europe in interesting ways. Right. So we enforce, I mean, even today, the smoke break, the coffee break and happy hour, right? We enforce those even though on considered rankings of most harmful substances that are broadly used, alcohol is number one. It beats heroin. heroin's number two. What? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alcohol is social harm. Social. Absolutely. No question about it. Ethanol other than the fact that it's so deeply unculturated and we love to raise a glass and there's all these wonderful and and bajillion amounts of film, TV advertising that reinforces it. Yeah. Ethanol sucks. Is anyone looking at the brain while they're doing this? Like what? Yeah, exactly. So so Robin Cauhan Harris, Imperial College of London, has just in the last three years started using LSD with patients to put them through FMRI. So now I can precipitate the experience with world-class measurement devices. Right. And what he found was two things. Really interesting.
So the first was is that our ego, when people talk about ego disintegration, you're like practitioners, they were actually right. Like our ego is not, there's not a single spot where it lives. It's a network. And if you knock out even one or two of those nodes, the whole thing powers down. And what are you shutting down the prefrontal cortex? Well, it's it's it's it's subtler and more nuanced than that these days. And that's that's what's so cool. Like the the new tech is advancing and our ability to put people in right interesting states while under the measurement devices because these are big giant million dollar machines. The first thing is that the ego is a network and that destabilizing or knocking out even a couple of nodes will shut the whole thing down. You'll get that moment of selflessness. Woody Allen goes away that stuff. But the other and this goes you know goes back to why Fattemons microdosing was so interesting is that is that under those under those conditions, right, while your brain is actually metabolizing and neurotransmitting LSD around its circuitry and the serotonin is happening, you're getting connections between parts of your brain that normally never talk to each other. What creates that connection? So it's not going to be myelination, right? That happens too slowly. So what what is the mechanism there? Well, I mean, I think in that literal sense, it's probably neurotransmitters and it's probably literally the serotonin systems. It's a couple several different sector sites. How they distant regions. Biring and talking to each other and they normally don't. Right. So it's like skip level neighbors calling out the window, right? And it's like and and those far-flung connections. I mean, that literally is the mind expansion element. And it's super practical. See, this is the thing. It's not just like, oh, wow, I've never thought, you know, that a tree that an oak tree comes from an acorn, you know, mind blown, you know, it's like, it's like, can I work on real hard stuff that's in my life that has practical applications, real-world constraints? And can I navigate some of the things that the patentable stuff that came out of that?
Like, are there door gates, linear electron beam accelerators, like like hardcore, super high-tech stuff. Yeah. And of course, I mean, that's the day. Are those guys still doing it? That's my real discussion. Everybody's doing it. We're bottom line in Silicon Valley when we go up there and we speak to teams of engineers. And we're like, here's flow states and here's ways to manage your day. And they're like, hey, man, our whole engineering team from microdosing. What do you think about that? I'm like, really? We're like, uh, can we talk about this off campus? So, you know, so the bottom line is like, um, yes, Silicon Valley as just exemplar or emblem. Oh, a lot of this stuff. There's there's a lot of executives that are using transcranial magnetic stimulation. So that, yeah, right. So that doesn't freak me out. Exactly. So I recommend TMS to everybody that's interested in it because it's like, okay, if you risk a verse, so tell people what that is. So transcranial magnetic stimulation, it almost looks like one of those, uh, the mirrors, you know, there's lights that dentists have in their offices, you know, and you can line it up over the front of your brain and you, and it basically sends magnetic pulses through whatever part of your brain you target. And the typical way they do it is they kind of test it and they make, you know, like you just end up with a sort of natural response, like grab your thumb and they're like, okay, now it's over the right zone. And they just do 15 to 20 minute sessions on a daily basis.
What is TMS? (27:19)
And it basically just defrags your cognitive heart drive. And it's FDA approved for depression, which is what they, you know, obviously largest target market. Let's go ahead and go through those hoops. And it performs it like 70. It's two X's effective as Prozac. And it's basically like a month long protocol. Now, not that many insurers will pay for it. So it's spendy 15 to 20k for a, for a batch. So that's prohibitive. But a lot of people are using an off label. And so what they're finding is that is that by basically kind of pulsing it with magnetic activity and then sort of level setting all of your neuronal connections, when they power back up, it's almost just like a cold, you know, it's just like a hard reboot on your computer that's been on too long. You end up with cleaner pathways and connections and greater efficacy. So that's being used off label by a lot of executives.
It's also being used by colleagues about how do they shut down? It depends. But one of them is Dorsalateral Preformed Cortex. So you can absolutely target that. And other colleagues of ours, they're doing DARPA research, right? Target acquisition with snipers, archery, all these kind of measurable things. How long does it take you to learn stuff? They're using it to basically mechanically induce a flow state. So rather than saying, hey, you've got to roll the dice or spin the tumbler and get lucky, they're just saying, hey, sit here. One session, you've got 20 to 40 minutes where you're not going to be your normal self, right? And go crush it and see how fast you learn stuff. And the acceleration and learning in those instances was up to 490%. What was the name of the company that was doing that? Advanced brain monitoring has been one bit for sure. Give the stats on how much faster you can learn in language. It goes from like six months to six weeks. Yeah. That's crazy. So what are they doing in the brain to get you in that state?
Speed Learning And Enhanced Performance
Learning Faster (29:02)
And why does it allow you to learn so much faster? Because reading that in the book, I was like, Jamie and I are going to this place. They're going to zap me and we're going to learn something really, really fast. And nothing else I want to advance my Greek. So let's go. Yeah. I mean, the simplest thing that those guys have been doing, and you can do this a thousand or one different ways, but is just straight up EEG feedback, so electrical activity. And can I steer myself without 20 years of meditation practice? So biofeedback, I'm watching my waves and can I just use visualization of my actual real time data to help me learn control it faster?
Yes, is the short answer. Right. So can I move out of distracted, fast moving beta into something slower and more receptive like alpha theta? Have you seen people give themselves into gamma states? Yeah. Yes. And in fact, it's seasoned meditators to bet and lineage monks have a far higher spike in gamma than almost anybody else. And gamma waves for the folks that don't know, that's like your Eureka insight. That's the moment of like shazam. I got it. And I just read a paper in plus one, the journal, which was three different types of meditation and comparing the incidences of gamma frequency based on the different actual meditative styles. So they're not just like, can it be done? And not just can, and meditators can do it, but like now which unique traditions do it better? And so the idea here is that by you can either do it the old school way, decades of practice flying blind, but with or with lineage instruction, right? Or we can accelerate it now and we can say, hey, can I use additional contemporary tools and tech? And can I accelerate my feedback loops? And can I start doing it faster? And once I can do that, it's not that the I sort of just gain access to information I haven't learned or earned, but it is to say that I can put myself into the most receptive and accessible state possible to then go and do that. Do you think it's more important that it's learned and earned versus just being able to zap yourself or take a drug? Like for me, the idea of shaving 30 years, I don't care if people think it's cheating. Like I'll show you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so that's another one. You asked like, why doesn't everybody do this? And in the case, the question was about pharmacological supplementation. But these days, it's getting into tech supplementation. It's getting into VR and AR. And the question is, is what we talk about is the notion of the skin bag bias, the idea that like if it's inside my body and I've earned it, that's real and true. And if it comes from outside, it's cheating or a shortcut and not real. And the answer is just really, you're short about that.
The Skibag Bias (31:36)
Because it's sort of like, basically, the moment you slow that down, you're like, okay, so where's the edges of that argument? You realize there are no edges. It's arbitrary and subjective. And it's culturally ingrained. The realities are, we are clever monkeys making shit up all the time. And we're forever influencing ourselves. Right? I mean, you go to Boulder and it's like goddamn like Wobagon. You look at a Montessori class in Boulder and like all the kids are just perfect and beautiful. And then you see the mother and the father and they're all like 512 climbers slash pro cyclists slash Mountaineer PhDs and they've self-selected, right? We all do this. We do it casually and informally. And then we also do it deliberately with, you know, with what we eat, we're tall. You were tall now and 500 years ago, we won't.
Evolving Ourselves (32:17)
We are constantly modifying ourselves. All right, let's get really crazy. Have you read evolving ourselves? No. Oh, my friend, like you have to read it. So a big part of their whole thing is that natural selection doesn't exist anymore. It is purely unnatural selection. 50% of the earth's dry landmass is covered by things that we have decided to let grow. So whether that's wheat, corn, whatever, we've decided that we've decided what species live and die. We're looking at ways to like bring back a woolly mammoth through cloning. It's like literally we have taken over natural selection, what we've done to humans with the way that we impact our microbiome, our volume, even just the Cessarian birth and how much that impacts the child. Head size. Yeah, having bigger heads, smaller hips, having kids later every five years, over 35, I think that a woman pushes back, having a child, it's a 14% increase in the likelihood that child will be obese. The heavier you, the heavier the mother is, the more likely the child is to be obese. So it's like you get these generational stacks. They're talking about how epigenetic factors, so changes we make to our own environment to ourselves now can echo for four generations, just fucking crazy. So if you take a rat, zap his feet and then make him smell almonds, then do nothing else. One rat, zap his feet, made him smell almonds. His great grandchildren will still be freaked out by the smell of almonds. Like, am I the only one freaking out about that? Like that's what, like that is crazy. So we have completely taken this stuff over. So get that all triggered to me because this whole notion of whether it's internal, whether it's external, a, I don't think that we have grips on now, what is internal and external, whether it be height, intelligence, whatever that we're already sort of taking control over and breeding in and out. God, this is nasty word to say, but that's essentially what's happening. But now we're going to be taking over from a technological perspective, from a chemical perspective, and what are we going to be okay with altering, right? What do you think? So in fact, let's really get controversial, my friend. What do you think about performance enhancing drugs?
Performance Enhancing Drugs (34:26)
Well, I mean, the short answers, we've always been using them, right? So you go back to the 1900s, you know, the early revival of the Olympics, they were doing, they were, marathoners were having glasses of wine, some of them were taking that bottle of cocaine. That would help. Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's always been happening, right? I mean, the Incans had that highway that ran the strip of the Anis, it was like 11 or 1200 miles, they would have their runners used basically freeze dried, literally leave it out at night and pound it freeze dried potatoes and other stuff and coca leaves. And those sons of bitches were like the Pony Express on steroids, they could cover 1100 miles in four days. Wow. Yeah, back in the day. Wow, what? Yeah, yeah, that's crazy. So let me just just absolutely outhand. So the idea that there was some earlier purer state where none of this happened and we didn't modify anything is a is a fiction, even go back to, oh, we use too much technology and we've been wounding the hooding the environment, we need to get back to Mother Earth. Even the notion of just the primal old growth forest is a fiction. So I mean, fire has been used since Neolithic times by humans as a technology. It's arguably the most potent technology we've ever invented. So when Europeans came here in the 1600s and they're like, Oh my gosh, there's game everywhere and there's pock, pock like forest we can ride our horses through in the whole bit. I don't know. Indians have been managing that landscape to promote game, you know, basically game husbandry for millennia before you guys showed up. So the idea that there is some earlier purer state is a pipe dream and a false premise. We've always been modifying our environment. We've always been modifying ourselves. We've always been modifying the plants and foods we eat. Michael Pollan calls it the botany of desire, right? That we shape our plants and our plants shape us, right? They make us feel and even including intoxicating plants, they make us feel good. Therefore we make a time we grow them, we help them have sex, we help them propagate, right? So it is us. We are clever monkeys with opposable thumbs and always have been. But the notion of where is it going next? Because don't you think that it's accelerating? Like we're doing it so rapidly. And like VR even just take VR as an example, let alone like epigenetic manipulation and kind of pick your child kind of stuff. But like even just VR, I mean there's been studies now that are showing that people are getting VR hangovers when they take it off.
Virtual Reality Hangovers (36:35)
And it's interfering with- What does that mean? Well, so like the first thing that people notice in VR is like, oh this is weird and there's this lag and I get a little seasick and they're improving latency and it's going to get better. But that's the first thing. But now enough people are doing it and doing it and spending enough time in it that they're actually what's happening when people are spending a lot of time in it and taking off the headsets. And there's psychological depression. There's a sense of like the world is just flat and grey and I'm not like the superstar avatar slinging laser beams. So this kind of sucks. And I'm in stuck-in traffic and you know in my lunches late. And also like neurobiological. So it's like my visual system has been attuned to this simulated environment. But I'm not getting vestibular inputs. I'm not getting proprioceptive inputs. It's all coming in through my retina. And then I take that off. My cerebellum is out of whack. And people are literally getting sort of hangover effect. It's almost like when you've been on a boat too long and you get back on the pier and you have sea legs. Land legs. People are getting like 3D legs when they come back into waking state reality. So the question is, I mean, are we going to end up just jacking ourselves involuntarily to the matrix? Right? Instead of being in prison there ourselves. So here's my big fear. Have you read the comic DMZ? I don't think so. All right. So my mission in life is to get people to understand that fucking comic books contain like so much cultural wisdom. Because you don't have to actually produce it. You could do a $100 billion budget movie and you just drawing. So whether you're drawing someone sitting in the living room or you're drawing something at the cosmological scale, it does not matter. So they explore fascinating ideas. And the DMZ explores the notion of the US in the middle of its second civil war. And it is so unnerving now. To read it now, it came out probably 10 years ago, maybe a little bit more. And at the time I felt a little insulated from anything like that. But now it's getting a little bit crazy. How does what you guys are covering in stealing fire? Because I think it does touch on the divisiveness that we see not just here in the US, but broader. Like how do we use the technologies to transcend that? Yeah, I mean, that's a massive fascinating question. And the simplest is to say like these techniques of ecstasy, which is Mature Eliades phrase in the University of Chicago way back when, but the notion of like technologies or tools we can use to create a prompt extocis or to step outside ourselves.
Therapeutic Uses Of Ecstasy And Location Of Jamie
Using Ecstasy to Heal & Cooperate (38:48)
Those can be used back to that 1984 Brave New World split. They can be used to for the better angels of our nature. They can help us become more expansive, more creative, heal trauma, prompt cooperation, collaboration and innovation. Or they can be used to absolutely hijack our impulses and drives, push all of our pleasure seeking buttons, sell us more shit, and leave us fat and happy and say it on a couch. The option is up to us. It's kind of like in Star Wars, right? I mean like 100% force, Yoda, awesome, 80% force, and it can scare you as hell. So it like extocis at 80% can be pretty much whatever the hell you want it to be. Right. All right. Fully expressed, it has these innumerable positive benefits. So one of the questions, you know, there's thought that old Yates line from that poem, The Second Coming, which kind of speaks a little bit to your DMZ comic, which is the, you know, the best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity. That's great. Right. The chills, that's really good. Yeah. What misshapen beast, it's our come round at last lurches towards Bethlehem waiting to be born. Wow. And we have the ability through extocis to literally step beyond ourselves, to have these experiences of expanded perspective, to have these experiences where we just get out of our own way. And we see man, we are connected to each other. Man, love, beauty, truth are worth taking stands for. Basic decency. Like there should be no reason why we can't reclaim honor, courage, duty, sacrifice, patriotism, democracy. Right. And this is not about left and right. This is about fear or love. Right. And I think if we think where we are today, like you can make a case, you don't have to buy into it, but like things are accelerating. A lot of people experience that. And it feels like everybody's mythologies are starting to smash and crash into each other. Right. One group, saviors, the other groups, Antichrist. Right. And it's all happened literally like the matri. If you go on YouTube and you Google matri of the world teacher, which is the Buddhist world teacher, like there are Christian fundamentals that are absolutely convinced that A, it might have been Obama, B, the matri is actually the Antichrist in drag. Right. You're like, what is going on? You know, and you've got the matrix and you've got Star Wars and you've got, you know, Bannon in the alt-right. You've got ISIS. You've got all these real and imaginal narratives, all getting swirled, sucked down the drain of time and space. And they're starting to slam into each other and blend in a way that's overwhelming us. Because we literally don't know whether to shit or go blind. And the reality is it's like, what if all of that is just the skin of, it doesn't matter what flag you're flying. It doesn't matter what uniform you wear. The real separation is going to be, are you coming from a place of love or are you coming from a place of fear and control? And these abilities to step outside ourselves, the ability to see more, feel more, and know more is the chance to give the best some of their own conviction. That's where we are. It's like to have that courage to say enough, enough with the insanity, enough with the inhumanity. And it's not, it's not, can I, can I trip out? It's not, can I skate from my life in responsibilities? It's, can I just set my down my burden long enough to step up to the high ground, to step up to the mountain and look around and say, I see where we are and I see what needs to be done. And it doesn't matter whether I get the prize, it doesn't matter whether my pod is insignificant or pivotal. It's just that I have to play it. And if we all do that, and it's the tiniest little things, it's a smile at the grocery store, right? It's a nod to a neighbor. It's a conversation from a liberal to a conception saying we both care about the same things. Let's honor democracy. Let's honor each other. This isn't complicated. And the ability to get beyond false schisms into a solution where you can hold more than one perspective. That is what Extasus gives us. It gives us the ability to wake up to what's possible to grow up and men where we're broken and to show up and do that which needs to be done. How do we get there a scale? Well, I mean, there's a short answer and there's a longer answer, but I think it's fundamentally open sourcing these techniques of ecstasy. We have the keys to our cage these days, right? We have the ability to get rid of neurotic woody-own. We really do. That's imminently possible. We don't need to burn a lot of cycles wondering if we can. But the keys to our cage are the keys to the kingdom. It's the same thing. And so, yeah, meditate. I mean, all the smart tech, all the neuroscience, all these access points, all the information is here. Don't die wondering. Go find it and go find it with the fastest, cleanest, safest method that works for you, but go find it. And then let's go back to being people and let's go back to mending this world.
Where to Find Jamie (44:05)
I have one more question before you, but first, where do these guys find you online? Well, I mean, the simplest right now is stealingfirebook.com. And our goal is to get this information out to everybody that needs it and really help support an open source revolution in consciousness and culture. This stuff has always been mediated by middlemen and gatekeepers. And that's the most interesting thing. Right now, it's not one spot because it's not one Prometheus. We're all Prometheus now. And by having this information and sharing it, that's my biggest hope. And I mean, we've run all the scenarios. I think there's a lot of ways this doesn't work. And I think the one way I can see it is a small band of dedicated rebels, right? Doing the impossible, just in time. That's awesome. All right. You've almost certainly touched on it. But put a fine point. What's the impact that you want to have on the world?
Impact And Conclusion
I mean, I think it's sharing knowledge that people can use to wake themselves and each other up and live the fullest life possible without apology or compromise. I like that a lot. Jamie, thank you so much for coming on the show today, man. That was incredible. Guys, you're going to want to dig into this man's world. When I first encountered him, the first thought that I had was this is the real life most interesting man in the world. The deeper that you go into the things that he's thinking about, the ways that he's explored, we're going to have to bring him back because I didn't even get to like 10% of the things that I wanted to ask him. You've got to hear him talk about relationships. It is unbelievable. We will get to that at some point. But guys, wow, that was an incredible message. You're going to want to read the book, "Stealing Fire." It goes into detail, the neuroscience, the how's, the why's, the where's, about how you can actually achieve this stuff, the dangers, what awaits on the other side, all of that stuff, which I think warrants further exploration. It is such an intriguing book. I promise with every page that you turn, you're going to be drawn farther into asking a question. You don't necessarily have to agree with the answer. But the argument that they're presenting, I think, is pretty undeniable that as Jamie said, we have the ability to step outside of our ego centric universe and really see things afresh. Whether that's to be able to have a breakthrough in your own business or whether that's to be able to see some of the political stuff that we're dealing with in a new light, to be able to see a new way forward, it doesn't matter. Those are all the things that are contained within the universe that can be affected, whether it's just straight up meditation or whether you're braver than I and you take the psychedelic route, but it's all there to be explored. Boys and girls, if you haven't already, this is a weekly show, so be sure to subscribe and until next time my friends, be legendary. Take care. Everybody, thanks so much for joining us for another episode of Impact Theory. If this content is adding value to your life, our one ask is that you go to iTunes and Stitcher and Rate and Review. Not only does that help us build this community, which at the end of the day is all we care about, but it also helps us get even more amazing guests on here to show their knowledge with all of us. Thank you guys so much for being a part of this community, and until next time, be legendary my friends.